Everything You Want to Know About Account-Based Marketing

It’s not often that a piece of marketing content prompts me to talk about it aside from the occasional tweet or share…however, the new Clear and Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing from Jon Miller and Engagio is really impressive. If you have the least bit of interest in adopting or learning more about this growing B2B marketing trend, you should definitely go and get this 124 page eBook, available (free) for a limited time by clicking here. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this as it is the most complete exploration of the topic I have come across. I took the liberty of pulling a few interesting quotes, hoping to comment and expand on what has rapidly become the hottest topic in B2B.

clear-complete-book-pages for ABM post 12.22ABM focuses time and resources on accounts most likely to drive revenue. It’s a ‘zero waste’ strategy that targets 100% of time, budget and effort on the named accounts your company decides as having the greatest potential.

How often are “qualified” leads sent to sales that they reject, or simply do not follow up on? It can be frustrating when a lead that passes all engagement and scoring requirements is rejected, with little insight from the sales team as to why. Odds are, it is from a company they don’t feel like they have a chance of selling to. By focusing more diligently on accounts that are likely to buy, leads from your ABM target list are more likely to get the attention that they deserve, and are more likely to drive revenue. That is why, as the eBook states, the “…core of any ABM initiative is an aligned marketing and sales team that’s dedicated to large accounts.” I would suggest, however, that your target account list should not simply be comprised of large accounts but rather the accounts that are most likely to both make the purchase and become a good and profitable customer.

Wasting effort on a poor fit … Put the wrong accounts on your list and you’ll spend time, money and effort on low-potential opportunities while under-resourcing your best shots.

Building your target account list is a vitally important first step, and the eBook outlines a few tactics to employ to build the right list. Firmographic (industry, revenue, employee count, etc.) and technographic (i.e., which technologies do they already use) details are important as you strive to understand the common characteristics of your best customers. But even before that, you need to understand who your best customers are … as your biggest customers (from a revenue perspective) are not necessarily your best ones. Think about things like acquisition costs, support costs, willingness to participate in co-marketing and time to close along with the simple question of how much money they have spent with your company.

A well-run sales development or prospecting team has always coordinated a mix of touchpoints – email, phone, social media, etc. – to create and develop account-based opportunities. The new ingredient in ABM is the alignment and integration of a dedicated marketing function to mirror and support that effort.

Do you want true sales and marketing alignment? There is little that will get your sales team more engaged than a marketing strategy that is focused on the companies they think they have the best chance to sell to. These are the companies they are scanning for whenever they receive a batch of leads from marketing, and the ones that they call first. Odds are, they already have their own mini-campaigns that target specific companies, and leveraging their efforts to both build your list and then market to it can create a synergy that will get the salespeople on board and actively engaged.

You also need to track the aggregate level of engagement across the account and know when that engagement level changes. Because, in B2B, you’re never just selling to an individual.

You can’t throw a rock without coming across research that discusses how B2B buying is conducted by committees, and that there are often teams of individuals within an account that are involved in the decision to purchase your products or services. If one person from a target account is on your website, or downloading your content it might be indicative of a selling opportunity. If multiple individuals from the same account are engaging with you, there is definitely an opportunity there. You need to take the steps to measure account-wide engagement with your brand, and to proactively drive it with an account-based targeting effort across multiple members of the buying committee. You also need to create content that addresses the needs and motivations of all of these buyers, because the pain points of decision-maker one are not necessarily the same as those of influencer two. Do your research into the committee, as well as into the accounts.

ABM efforts take time. Once you’ve chosen your list of target accounts, stick with it for longer than you may feel is right.

Definite words of wisdom, because B2B buying is usually not a quick transaction. Buying cycles often take months. Don’t give up hope if the returns are not immediate, and spend the time discussing your goals and how they might be achieved in stages – such as:

  • Increased target account engagement over time
  • Pipeline growth from accounts on your target list
  • Lower turnback rates of qualified leads from sales
  • Net new lead volume from target accounts

For a limited time, you can download your free copy of the Clear and Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing by clicking here.

Author: Jason Stewart @jstewart_1 is VP, Strategy, ANNUITAS